Connacht set off on Russian expedition without internationals Henshaw and White

Pat Lam’s men begin their 12,000km round journey this evening.

Connacht trained in Galway early this morning.
Connacht trained in Galway early this morning.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

CONNACHT HEAD COACH Pat Lam has opted to leave several of his key players at home as the province prepare to embark on an exhausting 12,000 kilometre round trip to Russia for their opening Challenge Cup fixture against Enisei-STM.

A 24-man squad will depart Shannon Airport later this evening and will travel through the night before arriving in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk on Wednesday morning.

The 9-hour journey, beginning at 7pm tonight, includes two flights, a stop-over in Moscow to refuel and then an internal flight to Krasnoyarsk.

Among the players given the weekend off are Irish internationals Robbie Henshaw and Nathan White as the pair work their way back into provincial duty following the World Cup campaign.

“Both Robbie and Nathan returned to the Connacht set up straight from the World Cup – this week was always earmarked as a down week for them so they were never in the plans for Russia,” a Connacht spokesperson told The42.

After almost a year on the sidelines, Jason Harris-Wright is included in the travelling party after he returned to action in the Eagles’ win over Leinster ‘A’ last week.

Academy graduates Peter Robb and Sean O’Brien could make their senior debuts with regulars such as Keiran Marmiom, Tiernan O’Halloran and Rodney Ah You all rested.

Winger Matt Healy, Tom McCartney, John Cooney and Quinn Roux are all injured.

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Sean O'Brien Sean O'Brien is one of six Academy players to be included. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Lam will name his starting XV on Friday.

Connacht’s travelling squad:

Darragh Leader, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Rory Parata, Craig Ronaldson, Jack Carty, AJ MacGinty, Ian Porter, Caolin Blade.

Jason Harris-Wright, Dave Heffernan,  Shane Delahunt, Conan O’Donnell, Ronan Loughney, Denis Buckley, Finlay Bealham, Aly Muldowney, Danny Qualter, Ultan Dillane, James Connolly, Sean O’Brien, George Naoupu, John Muldoon.

Unavailable: Rodney Ah You, Fionn Carr, John Cooney, Matt Healy, Robbie Henshaw, Kieran Marmion, Ben Marshall, Tom McCartney, Dave McSharry, Tiernan O’Halloran, Danie Poolman, Quinn Roux, Nathan White.

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Ryan Bailey

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